Eno Barony‘s debut album is named after Yaa Asantewaa, queenmother of Ejisu in the then Ashanti Empire; who called on, and lead fellow women into battle against British colonialists.
The album’s opening song – which doubles as the title track – is part history lesson, part ode to Yaa Asantewaa, and part battle cry:
“let us all rise // let all women rise // let all African women rise.”
The spirit of track one – feisty, pro-woman – sets out to be the fundamental ethos of the 16-track album; which features the likes of Medikal, Ebony, Kwaw Kese and Mic Flammez (from Togo).
Things get more general from the next song onwards – narrations of experiences (from love to the hustle) as lived and/or told by a young woman, straight up spitting bars just because…BARony!
Track number four – King of Queens ft. Medikal – is definitely one of the standout joints on Yaa Asantewaa. But. Measured against the aforementioned ethos of the album, a thing or two become(s) questionable. The song title for one: King of Queens implies that Eno, although a woman and therefore, in this specific context, a queen by ordination, needs to assume the positon of a man – king- to be superior to fellow queens, ie. other women (rappers?). And then there’s the declaration – on the same song: “i am the best femcee, no doubt.” Femcee. Perhaps a useful term in some cases. but largely, somehow, pigeonholing, limiting.
Considering, especially, that this here’s a tape on which she holds her own against all (male) rappers featured. And even. On track 15, Fear No Man – another standout joint – Eno dares all your male faves from Sark the Highest to M dot the god mc.
At the beginning of Fear No Man, ENo BArony tells about how “THEY told [her she was] too weak for the role.” For no other reasons that she was a woman – and wanted to rap. Wel, after listening to Yaa Asantewaa, in all it’s impeccable fluency + assertiveness, there can be no doubt about the fact that THEY were wrong about it.